It’s the end of the regular season already. Like it does every year, the fall went by too quickly. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were watching Hawaii’s Week 0 game. Alas, almost half the MWC have played their final game of the year. All but two just have one more game remaining, while Fresno State and Boise State have two left. Thus it’s time to handle out final season grades. Doing it this week as the conference championship shouldn’t alter the grades of the Bulldogs or the Broncos (unless one of them forgets to show up). Do the bowl games count you ask? A separate post will be made in due time to evaluate bowl game performances.
Here are our mid-season grades for reference. If you recall, we did Harry Potter themed O.W.L. grades, so not quite comparable but should give you a general baseline to go off of.
A few quick notes before diving in. 1) Treat the grades as a big picture snapshot rather than an all-inclusive rating. 2) Different standards are given for different teams. San Diego State and Hawaii are good examples of this, as the Rainbow Warriors overachieved while the Aztecs underperformed the second half of the season. Thus, their grades reflect that. With that being said, look at the grades below:
Bonus: What type of college student is every MWC team?
Air Force: C
The Falcons turned in a pretty good season. Like most triple option teams, they stay in almost every game. They win a game or two they should lose and lose a game or two they should win. This year those games were UNLV (maybe?) and Florida Atlantic. They had some shuffling at quarterback for one reason or another and perhaps it cost them a win or two, but overall ended up in middle of the conference, so they get a middle grade.
The Falcons are the ones who brought their computers to class way before it was common. They surprise you because participate most when the discussion turns to a semi-tangent or loosely related topic, but they are sure knowledgable in what they have to say. Their in your group for the project and volunteer to do the powerpoint slides. You also never see them around campus. They only seem to exist in the classroom.
Boise State: A-
The Broncos took a bit of thought as they were expected to compete for a New Year’s 6 Bowl this season... until they lost two games in three weeks. They looked simply “good” at the middle of the year, but rose from the ashes and find themselves back in the Mountain West Championship game. it’s been an impressive second half, but it’s still likely they don’t get in the NY6. Still, a 10 win season is nothing to scoff at and every team in the MWC would take that every year.
The Broncos are a sophomore taking a senior level class and quickly realize they aren’t the smartest person in the classroom. At first, it really rattles them, but eventually they compose themselves, finish with a good grade, and are a better student because of it.
Colorado State: F
Does this need to be explained? The Rams were coming off three straight 7 win seasons and most of us were debated if they would get more than that this year. Instead, they took at surprising (at the time) loss and never really recovered. They’ll always have the Arkansas game, but can’t claim too much else. Whether it was offense, defense, or special teams, they struggled more often than not.
The Rams are the person who got on the honor roll in high school without studying and thought they could get by with the same strategy in college. Then they fail their first test, badly, and start panicking. They also don’t take tests well when panicked.
Fresno State: A
Some (including myself), predicted a bit of a drop-off for the Bulldogs. Like 8-9 wins. They proved us wrong and got to 10 wins, with their defense proving to be quite a formidable unit and their offense putting up good numbers as well. Though they laid an egg against Minnesota, they looked like a great team every other game this season, including their other loss. There’s not much more to say. They an all-around good team.
The Bulldogs sit in the front row. They do the reading for class, participate in discussions, study for tests, and always get good greats. Some days or assignments, other students might do better than them from time to time, but over the course of the season, they display why they are a top student.
Oh the Rainbow Warriors. They weren’t projected to be good, but just kept winning. Their run-and-shoot offense confused enough teams to get off to a hot start. However, they were overachieving and got exposed a bit. Still, they hung on enough to find their way into a bowl this year and that should be considered a huge success for Hawaii. All in all, they probably aren’t as good as their record but since many thought 3 wins would be a pretty good season, then 8 wins is very good.
The Warriors are the student everyone gets along with or likes in class. They are a bit goofy but aren’t slackers. They are a one-trick pony though. They know one aspect of the class extremely well and relate everything in the discussion back to that thing. Every single time. For the first few weeks, they look like a genius. Then, everyone figures it out and it gets annoying and stale. By the end of the semester, they learn something new and can then connect their original point in a new, deeper way, so they get a good final grade.
The Wolf Pack were expected to take a step forward this season and they did just that. There were some bumps along the way and it was anything but easy but they ending the season as a good football team. All season long they were the same pretty good team. They had wins and losses out of conference and in conference play. Some games they won with points and others they won with defense.
The Wolf Pack is the student who comes in, works hard, asks good questions, learns a bit along the way, gets a big better, and leaves the class having learned a few things they take with them. May be boring, but isn’t that what classes are supposed to be about?
New Mexico: D
Oh the Lobos. The bar was set low for them this season and don’t think they cleared it. They abandoned their option offense and it became extremely inconsistent. They put 50 points on UNLV one week and only scored 18 the next week against the Rams. That was their only conference win by the way and just one of three all season. There were more off the field issues and hot seat rumors for Davie, plus the every looming budget talks. The word always is the Lobos are a basketball school and that shows on the football field. It sure did this year.
The Lobos are the science major who gets into a discussion-based theology or english class. Give them something to memorize and they’ll dominate it. Ask them to discuss a theory or analyze a passage and their at a loss. They are great at the classes they should be, but a fish out of water in the others.
San Diego State: C-
The first half of the year, the Aztecs looked like every other Aztec team. Lose a non-conference game, beat a team they probably shouldn’t have and are on pace for 8-10 wins. Then injuries hit. They tread water as long as they could but couldn’t sustain it. Just as they got players back, they lose their last three games. They played more close games than anyone I can remember, in both wins and losses, with both good and bad teams. We’ve come to expect more from San Diego State and this should be considered a down year from them.
The Aztecs are the student who does just enough to get by. This strategy works effectively at the start of the year, but when things piled up at the end of the semester, they become content with a good enough passing grade.
San Jose State: F
You knew this one was coming. This grade can’t be anything else. They weren’t projected to be good, then lost to UC Davis, their gimme-win. There were some blowouts (Washington State, Army) and some heartbreakers (Hawaii, San Diego State). They beat UNLV in convincing fashion, but that was their lone win. It was supposed to be a rough season and somehow felt rougher.
The Spartans are the person who forgot to do the first assignment of the year, a simple one-page reflection. They seem way over their heads in class, though are friendly enough when you talk to them. The Prof feels bad failing them because they try hard, and gives them an extra credit assignment but it’s still not enough.
They had the season they’ve been having, so a B- could’ve been warranted, except... this was supposed to be the season they earned a bowl birth. This was supposed to be the season they emerged from the middle of the pack and worked they way into the conversation of pretty good teams. But losses to Arkansas State, getting killed by New Mexico, and falling to Air Force don’t make for a bowl season. They had lofty goals but still fell short.
The Rebels come into class talking a big game, saying they the class is easy and they are going to do great on the end of semester project. However, they miss class a few times and when it’s time to present, they aren’t as confident and give a good, but not great presentation.
Utah State: A-
What a year for Utah State. I wouldn’t say they came out of nowhere, but they were definitely the most improved team this year. They nearly pulled off what would have been the beat MWC win of the season in their opener against Michigan State. Then, they rattled off win and win until the final game of the regular season against Boise State. This was a banner year for the Aggies and though they get a few points off for not making the title game, they have every reason to be proud.
The Aggies are the student you’ve seen in a class a few times over the years. You were in a few gen-eds together and they never really stood out. Then, you take a class with them in their major and surprise! They are really really smart. They talk a lot and ace the tests. A few flaws get exposed on the final paper but overall, they rock the class.
The Cowboys defense kept them in good position all season and earned them an extra win or two. The offense struggled most of the season but Bohl a few personnel changes and they got Evans healthy and finished strong, getting to the 6 win mark to be bowl eligible. If we go off of their projections from mid-season, the grade is probably higher. Next year, their defense probably takes a step back but their offseason looks pretty good. They never seem to be able to put it all together, but still a pretty good team.
The Cowboys are the person in class you forget is there. They sit towards on the back in the row by the wall and never, ever talk. Over the semester, you learn they get A’s on all the papers, so they must know the material pretty well. Unfortunately for them, the class grade is 20% participation, so their grade gets dragged down.
Alright, let’s hear it. Which grades did you agree with? Which ones would you change and to what? Talk about it in the comments section.